A new study from the Pew Hispanic Center finds that the white/Latino gap in finishing college is larger than the high school completion gap. The study reveals that Latino undergraduates are at a disadvantage in competing for college degrees because of two important factors: many Hispanic undergraduates disproportionately enroll on campuses that have low bachelor’s degree completion rates, and they have different experiences than white students even when they enroll on the same campuses.
Hispanic undergraduates are less than half as likely as white undergraduates to complete a bachelor’s degree, according to the national study released last week. The study examined data from a U.S. Department of Education survey. The survey tracked 25,000 eighth-graders in 1988 until most were 26 years old in 2000.
It found that 47 percent of white undergraduates complete a bachelor’s degree, while only 23 percent of Hispanic undergraduates do.
“It partly reflects the colleges and universities that Latinos choose to attend,” said Richard Fry, the study’s senior research associate.
College selectivity is closely related to college completion rates, Fry said.
But “equally prepared whites and Latinos at similar institutions still don’t complete degrees at the same rate,” he said.
This is because Hispanic students are more likely than white students to delay college enrollment, enroll part-time, live off-campus and have extra family responsibilities, he said.
Nubia Esparza, a Hispanic graduate student in public policy at the Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, said she was not surprised by the results of the study. She has seen a lot of her Hispanic friends drop out of college, she said.
“A lot has to do with financial aid,” she said. “There are a lot of Latino students who can’t continue going to school because they don’t have the funding for it.”
Read more at: Pew Hispanic Center (Adobe Acrobat required)